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Ashley

Family, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Get Your Farm On

We are exploring vacations and I stumbled upon this site: www.farmstayus.com

A few years ago we actually stayed on a bee farm in Big Sur, California and it was one of the greatest vacations we’ve ever booked.

Every morning we woke up to peek outside and watch the bee workers outside in their large white, head-to-toe, beekeeper attire, tending to their early morning duties. Each evening we watched the sun set while we overlooked the Pacific Ocean from our elevated deck chairs just off the side deck of our living area. And during the day we spent our time hiking, and exploring and hoping into eco-friendly restaurants and delicious hometown bakeries.

We received fresh eggs and honey, composted our waste for the chickens, picked fresh lemons, limes and oranges, and walked the redwood forest trail on the property, a path the owners had cleared themselves. Perched on the claw foot tub, was a homemade bar of lavender soap that filled the entire cottage with an unforgettable, invigorating, aroma.I’m not so sure our experience will be the same at another farm, but we’re anxious to experience nature, let the kids interact with animals, and help educate them on some of the practices that help bring food to our table.

Would you farm on your next vacation? Where would you go?

Career & Resources, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Someone Ate the Only Good Thing Going on in My Life

When I was in college I waited tables at a restaurant in my hometown at the beach. The people I worked with were fun and we all went out after work together. Today work seems so much different. When I waited tables our biggest crisis seemed to be which side work we drew each night and who had to fill the ketchups.

The restaurant I worked at was on the third floor of a three-story building and directly below us there was a market. It carried bare minimum essentials for island residents, but they had this homemade banana pudding that they stocked that was AMAZING. Obviously I imagined someone’s grandmother made it and it had to take no less than 24 hours to cook it (honestly I have no idea, but that’s how good it tasted). It was the perfect post-server-shift indulgence. The market closed at 8 pm, so if you wanted to get this sought-after-pudding you had to get to your shift early and stop at the market on your way into the restaurant. Several my fellow restaurant staffers knew this and we took measures to stake our claim on one of the limited supply banana pudding containers on the way up the three flights of stairs. We’d take our pudding, label it with our names with a permanent sharpie marker and stock it in the restaurant kitchen cooler, ready for our retrieval at our evening break.

One night, ready for my break, I went to grab my pudding and it was gone. I was perplexed, we had never had a food theft problem. I started desperately digging through the cooler, sure that someone pushed it to the back during service. And then, I ever so slightly caught a glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, of the assistant manager standing just off to the side of the cooler. He was shoveling banana pudding into his mouth with a grin.

Me: “Did you buy that banana pudding.”

Manager: “No I found it in the fridge.”

Me (steam coming out of my ears): “So you took banana pudding with someone’s name on it out of the fridge.”

Manager: “Don’t be mad. I was hungry.”

Me: (ANGER. Dispair. Steam. Speechlessness.)

Look: I had a lot to learn back then about controlling my short fuse. Today I feel like my kids steal my food on a more regular basis and I’ve never reacted to them the same way I stared that guy down with the deadliest and most disgusted eyes that I hoped would laser puncture his bullheaded noggin. I climbed three flights of stairs for that pudding, paid for it with my measly server tips, I had sore feet from working my shift and someone with entitlement and disrespect claimed it. It was JUST LIKE the Friends episode where someone steals Ross’ sandwich- “Someone ate the only good thing going on in my life!” (clip here)

So here’s my question. What ticks you off? A friend at work laughs at me because I get so worked up when people run unorganized meetings and I get irked when friends habitually cancel plans without a good excuse (I feel like I am managing these scenarios well without having to engage a therapist) plus add food theft to my list of annoyances (I mean what are you an animal?) I can be a little intense. So what’s got you seeking anger management intervention? What goes against your grain? What’s your banana pudding?

 

Family, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {4.20.18}

It’s Friday! If only every day could be as happy as a fist-full of cotton candy on a spring day! My hopes are that your Friday is at least as happy as this picture. Today I’ll be celebrating Earth Day with my son at his school at lunchtime. The huge celebration is packed with 901rock decorating, crafts, reading time (Earth Day books of course!) and music- I love that they put so much effort into celebrating this special day. My son will also be playing his first baseball game coached by my husband- I’m snack mom this week and we’re bringing oranges and Pirates Booty at the request of my son (every 5-year-olds’ dream!)

We also have lots of other fun things planned this weekend- I am stoked it’s Friday!

Here are some things to ponder around the web.

Some states are now raising the bar on restaurant labor laws– a step up from my $2.13 an hour server days.

We have been binge watching this Netflix show.

Self-care– are we all doing it wrong?

This hopeful prayer

My friend had on Rothy shoes and gave me a demo on my porch- ha! Makes me want to buy some! They’re washable and bendable and made out of recycled material.

AND I have this ‘ole ab workout video on repeat #summergoals

What are you up to this weekend? We’re hoping the weather pans out! Have a lovely two days.

Family, Uncategorized

5 Fun Things {4.3.18}

Hey hey! How’s your week going? I’ve been saving up some fun things I stumbled upon (around the web) and this week is a great week for a pick-me-up. Here are 5 fun things (plus 1)- check it out if you’d like to see!

Fleeing desk jobs for the farm life

Breakfast for Dinner-yes please!

Morning Motivation -made me pumped!

My new (aspiring) dance moves -I can’t stop watching!

Tacos. Tacos. Tacos. -If you’re not obsessed we can’t be friends.

And for those asking and wondering, we’re still in the adoption waiting game. We’re approved and on stand-by for our placement. It could be tomorrow or three years from now- what can I say- we live on the wild side! Please keep us in your thoughts during this waiting period. Happy mid-week!

~Ashley

Family

Our Adoption Profile Book {3.12.18}

Hello there. We are back from vacation and I’m back to work this week. Post-vacation on a week where we loose an hour is a little rough, but we’re hanging in there. The extra sunshine we’ll be gaining each day sure will be worth it!

We were home study approved for our adoption a few days before we left for vacation and we had already printed our profile book, so I dropped the copies by our agency office and then we headed out on a flight the next day to beautiful South Florida. The day before we arrived home from vacation we received an email from our social worker “There’s a mom who has already birthed a baby girl and we will be placing her next week. Can we show her your book?” We had less than 24 hours to respond and we said yes! We were excited, but also experiencing that nervous feeling like: “are we going to come back from vacation and get a baby?”

Unfortunately we didn’t get a call about that placement, but I thought it would be fun to share our profile book if you’d like to see. We are currently home study approved for infant adoption in the US. I know I researched a lot of books before I put ours together so I thought I’d share our final version just in case someone out there is trying to prepare their book and is looking for ideas! We used mixbook to create it- I’ve used them before for family photo books and I love them. They have colorful, easy to use templates.

Our agency gave us some guidelines including what types of pictures to include and which ones to omit. For example, we have a cat, but she never comes out for our kids and we didn’t want to promise anyone that we have a “friendly loving pet” so we just left her out of our book.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the book. Feel free to comment below or send me a message through the contact section of this blog if you have any questions we could help answer about our journey so far.

XO Ashley

Family, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Sunday’s Are For Sending Winter Away- Our Trip to Sweet Noshings

This Sunday we had enough. We took a stand to the injustice that is otherwise known as the never ending winter and we had ice cream- gasp!

First we headed to one of our favorite parks and played away most of our winter blues. And then I didn’t want it to end so I suggested ice cream. My family started walking over to the ice cream truck and I steered them over to the car- “we are not eating ice cream there, get in the car!”

We headed over to Sweet Noshings, a candy, fudge, popcorn, coffee, ice cream shop (they have pretty much everything amazing in life on their menu) and we picked out our ice cream flavors. By the way, I still need to educate my kids that, brown, white and pink are not flavors, but colors, but I let all that slide today. I guess I was also feeling melancholy about the weather because I splurged on a pack of pop rocks and white cheese popcorn.

Here are some pictures of our delightful afternoon if you’d like to see.

After all that sugar, and the dancing to celebrate the sugar, both kids finished out the evening watching their new favorite show, Clifford the Big Red Dog!

What are you doing to shove winter out the back door? 

PS: If you’re in the Memphis area and haven’t been to Sweet Noshings, check them out. All four of our ice cream flavors were on point and their popcorn was amazing!

~Ashley

Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {2.16.18}

Hey hey it’s Friday! We have a fun weekend planned with a date night, a birthday painting party and a “no-plans Saturday morning” that I’m so excited about.

These right here are some of my favorites if you’d like to see.

Sheet fried eggs– what?!?! If I had known about these years ago it would have saved me from hovering over the stove. We’ll be trying these out Saturday morning so I can hang in bed a little longer while the oven does all the cooking.

My dad was in town last Saturday and we surprised him when he came over with our family Valentine’s party.

Haha! We had this magnificent sign on the porch with a spotlight to greet him when he arrived at our door.

And these ridiculous balloons that my kids picked out especially for the party! Everyone received a gift from the table in the corner.

My son and I picked out chocolates at our local candy shop special for the occasion- here he is sampling them- choices choices!

We buy striped Amazon pajamas for the kids all the time, but this time I bought some for me and my husband too (it was one of his Valentine’s gifts). My daughter was so excited when she saw us wearing them. She ran to her room to change into her pair so she could match us!

I can’t wait to get into gear for spring. Usually on the first nice day I head to Lowe’s to jazz up my patio. Here are some fun ideas to get ahead of the game.

Also if you need a mood boost, check out these fun links…

How The Rock feels about rainbow surprises 😂

I did a post on “work moods” this week and how to take yours up a notch. And this interview, “Why Limit Happy to an Hour” just puts me in a good mood.

This window washer really makes the best of his job!

Toddlers and their bedtime shenanigans… I mean this is my life.

Finally on a more somber note, this school shooting has me just utterly devastated. I just can’t even imagine what these families are going through and my heart pours out to them. It’s hard to know what to say and sometimes we are all left feeling a little helpless. If you’re feeling that same way but would love to take action, here are five ways to help.

Have a fun relaxing weekend and hug your loved ones a little tighter!

Career & Resources

Work Mood

The last couple months at work have been intense, which has me thinking. What’s the best way to lighten the mood at the office?

I usually crack the occasional joke during a lull period of intense debate just when someone’s about to fly off the handle or pop into a meeting with donuts and coffee. I’ve also been trying to lighten the mood for my team with super hero awards. We vote on the award as a team and I’ll send the cheesy certificates to their manager with a nice note about them and then recognize that person in front of the team with a little speech about how much we appreciate them and enjoy their contribution. We’ve already awarded the heroes of Wonder Woman, The Hulk, and Mr. Fantastic. Those days we recognize someone happen to be some of my favorite days at work.

Revise Psycology roughly calculates that we spend about 50% of our week with co-workers and an estimated 92,120 hours in the course of our entire working life. I had a boss tell me that it was important for her to bond with her co-workers since she spent more time with them at the office some weeks than even her own children.

Chron.com says simple things can lighten the mood at work including stretching with staff and celebrating achievements with team members. The article also mentions a little quick tip about how enjoyment and lightheartedness should actually start with you!

A co-worker of mine recently decided to bring some homemade Cuban stew to work, and upon informing a few others of his plans, actually ended up turning his homemade Cuban stew potluck into a Cuban lunch party. It was complete with Cuban sandwiches, plantain chips and sweet plantains. People kept pitching in to bring stuff- it was glorious. I had back-to-back meetings that day and wouldn’t have had lunch if it weren’t for him.

How are you making the best of your work-day?

Family, Food & Wine, Health, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {2.8.18}

Happy Friday- Whoop whoop! Work has been insanely busy and I couldn’t be more ready for the weekend! We are still surviving winter in a big way over here- I am particularly over it and we sure are ready for some warmer weather- however it’s projected to be cold and gloomy again this weekend so our plans will be something indoors. We might head to the movie in theatres now- The Greatest Showman- and we’re scoping out a hands-on, interactive, dinosaur show at the Agricenter this weekend.

I haven’t posted favorites in a while but here’s a little bit of what I’m loving.

I discovered these two recipes during my Whole30 journey and they’re on weekly repeat at our house now! If you’re doing Whole30 too just minus beans and rice on the second recipe.

Click here

and here

My new go-to workout is Pure Barre! My back was really killing me due to sitting at work all day. I was going to the chiropractor every month but I have not been back in 3 months due to Pure Barre! It’s a lot of planking, core work and stretching that I think was missing from my life. This workout can get expensive but they always have a special going on that makes it a little more economical. It’s been worth it for me, and my back, to have a stronger core!

My kids are real comedians at this age and I’ve been blogging a lot lately about our life, and our humor.

Click here to read about my son’s 3 medals and here to read all about how my daughter is asking everyone she encounters all about their age!

If you’re looking to create a collection, here are some details to consider.

Plus if you’re interested- I give you permission to nap!

I found these Brazi bites at my local Fresh Market and I’m in love- they had me at cheese and bread. It’s been about 6 years since I’ve visited Brazil, but as far as I can tell these little bits of heaven aren’t too far off the mark from the originals. You can find them in the freezer section. They’d be great appetizers if you’re needing to bring a side for a potluck.

I hosted our dinner club last weekend at my house- apps and game night was the theme. It was so much fun! Everyone brought and app and a game and the food spread we ended up with was something I just would never have accomplished on my own! One of the crowd favorites were these Parmesan cheese bites! One of my friends described them as “little bites of heaven”.

Other than that I’m also loving these two pictures, but I’m partial!

I hope you’re having a great week so far. Be sure to comment all about what you’re loving right now!

Family

Spicing Up a Winter Weeknight

Recently we’ve been stuck inside due to plummeting temperatures and early sunsets and I can’t help but get desperate for summer. Our favorite evening ritual is finishing an early dinner and walking our neighborhood or sitting in our backyard while we grill out and the kids play.

But winter has us binge watching kids Netflix shows, checking off home “to do lists” and heading to bed early. And while sometimes it can feel a little mundane, I try to remember that this is the season for us to catch up on our rest and get energized for the warmer months.

However, winter work evenings don’t have to be a desperate dud. Darling be Daring mentions that spicing up the work week can mean focusing on an elaborate recipe you’ve been wanting to make including trekking out to buy all the fresh ingredients or adding a workout routine that’s interactive and adds variety.

Sheknows.com has some creative ideas doable for weeknights such as playing dress-up as a family with old and silly outfits and hosting a “show and tell” family evening.

Refe Tuma turns the entire month of November into Dinovember where he says, “Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children their plastic dinosaur figures come to life while they sleep.” It’s an elf on the shelf meets Jurassic Park!

Simply Kierste Design Co. suggests taking one of your kids on a date night to the grocery store or a progressive dinner to different restaurants, one for each course. Folding paper airplanes and testing them is another idea she shares that I could definitely get onboard with.

And finally, after my son begged me to help me with my laundry and seeing how great he’s become at folding, I’m not so sure this dreaded chore can’t be spiced up a little with his company. This article makes me feel even better about this new laundry routine.

So far our most fun, cold-weather, weeknight, evenings include my daughter serving us pretend food and coffee from her mini-kitchen, rowdy rounds of duck-duck-goose, trips to our favorite neighborhood pizza joint, and the occasional celebration prep for “family parties” we’ve arranged just for the four of us. I’ve promised my son we will be having a family Valentine’s party soon.

How do you spend your winter weekdays?

~Ashley